The group at the Bonn Conference Center
For three days, at the Global Media Forum of the Deutsche Welle (DW) in Bonn, more than one thousand communication media representatives as well as politics, economics and cultural representatives exchanged views about the media's role in Human Rights protection and guarantee in a globalized world. In view of the radical political changes that are happening in the Arab world, DW's Director General, Erik Bettermann defined 2011 as the “Human Rights Year”.
The Arab Spring, revolutions at Tunisia and Egypt, as well as the situation in the rest of the Arab countries, played a significant part at the Communication Media Conference that took place this year at the Rhine riverbank.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom invited eight bloggers from the Arab world to the Federal City. Civil journalists came from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco and Palestine. During a discussion activity, framed within the forum and before a large audience, they first-hand informed about the role that the social communication media plays in promoting freedom and democracy in the Arab world.
“Our revolution was greater than the bloggers' world”, said Egyptian Basem Fathy, who lived the critical days of the Cairo revolution at the Tahrir Square: “Many people who had never been in contact with internet joined us at that time.”
Also, the Commissioner for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid for the Federal Government of Germany Markus Löning, who participated in the discussion about the role that Germany and Europe play regarding historical changes in the Near East, warned that turning digital applications into a myth, should be avoided. “If people lack resolution, the amount of Twitter accounts is irrelevant – still, nothing happens.”
Arab bloggers had individual stories to tell: Suhail Al Gohaibi from Bahrain turned into a politic blogger because he considered that the events happening in his country were being tendentiously presented by the international media; Tarek Nesh-Nash from Morocco manages an online portal in which the imminent change to the Constitution is being followed with extreme interest. Jordanian Mohamed Al Qaq produces and discloses video clips that critically address the freedom of opinion restriction, among other topics.
In Bonn, everyone paid great attention to Syrian Marcel Shewaro, who passionately told about violence increase in her country, but at the same time expressed being resolute to fight against the regime through her blog. “Now, if we don't hold on to our strong position and protest, our children will also be suppressed. We need our liberty and dignity today.”
It was the first time that the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom participated with an Arab delegation at the Global Media Forum. Regional Office Director, Ronald Meinardus, who accompanied the group, was very pleased: “We not only witnessed extremely interesting discussions in an experts' real global context. Most of all, the Global Media Forum is a place to create networks and make contacts”, said Meinardus, who years ago started his professional career as an editor at the international channel.
Contributions of the participants are available on video (YouTube):
- Ronald Meinardus - Welcome and Introduction
- Rachid Filali, Algeria
- Suhail al Gosabi, Bahrein
- Basem Fathy, Egypt
- Mustafa Saad, Iraq
- Monder Al Jaghoub, Palestine
- @marcellita, Syria
- Mohammad Al Qaq, Jordan